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New garden book

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Books become classics for a reason – because they continue to speak to successive generations.Certainly that's true of Barbara Damrosch's "The Garden Primer," which was the one-volume "gardening bible" of the 1980s, especially for those living in cooler climates.

But gardening information doesn't remain static, since plants – and especially recommended varieties – change rapidly. So can best practices and advice. So Ms. Damrosch has completely revised her miniencyclopedia of gardening for a new generation.

As the "primer" part of the name implies, this is a fine one-stop reference to basic information about growing plants – from annuals to vegetables. Gardening novices will find it an excellent introduction to digging in the dirt – mostly because of Damrosch's pithy common sense. It's hard to resist the advice of someone who says, "Good gardening is very simple, really. You just have to learn to think like a plant."

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